The Assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand : Trigger for War

analytical Essay
2645 words
2645 words

The Assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand : Trigger for War

Bosnia and Herzegovina were provinces just south of Austria, which had, until 1878, been governed by the Turks. The Treaty of Berlin, in 1878, settled the disposition of lands lost by the Turks following their disastrous war with Russia. Austria was granted the power to administer the two provinces indefinitely. Many Bosnian-Serbs felt a strong nationalistic desire to have their province joined with that of their Serb brothers across the river in Serbia. Many in Serbia openly shared that desire.

On October 6, 1908, Austria annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina directly into the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The reasons were complex. Annexation would remove any hopes Turkey might have for reclaiming the provinces. Full inclusion into the empire would give Bosnians full rights and privileges. It may have been an act of will by the Austrians, just to show that they were still an active, sovereign power.

Two days later, many men, some of them ranking Serbian ministers, officials, and generals, held a meeting at City Hall in Belgrade. They founded a semi-secret society, Narodna Odbrana (National Defense), which gave Pan-Slavism a focus and an organization. The purpose of the group was to recruit and train partisans for a possible war between Serbia and Austria. They also undertook anti-Austrian propaganda and organized spies and saboteurs to operate within the empire's provinces. Satellite groups were formed in Slovinia, Bosnia, Herzegovina and Istria. The Bosnian group went under the name Mlada Bosna (Young Bosnia).

Narodna Odbrana's work had been so effective that in 1909 a furious Austria pressured the Serbian government to put a stop to their anti-Austrian insurrection. Russia was not ready to stand fully behind Serbia should things come to a showdown, so Belgrade was grudgingly forced to comply. From then on, Narodna Odbrana concentrated on education and propaganda within Serbia, trying to fashion itself as a cultural organization.

Many members formed a new, and again secret, organization to continue the terrorist actions. Ten men met on May 9, 1911 to form Ujedinjenje ili Smrt (Union or Death), also known as The Black Hand.

By 1914, there were several hundred members, perhaps as many as 2500. Many members were Serbian army officers. The professed goal of the group was the creation of a Greater Serbia, by use of violence, if necessary. The Black Hand trained guerillas and saboteurs and arranged political murders.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that bosnia and herzegovina were provinces just south of austria, which had, until 1878, been governed by the turks.
  • Explains that austria annexed bosnia and herzegovina directly into the austro-hungarian empire on october 6, 1908. it was an act of will to show that they were still an active, sovereign power.
  • Describes how serbian ministers, officials, and generals formed a semi-secret society to recruit and train partisans for war between serbia and austria.
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